22 December, 2019

John 10:11, 15—“… I lay down my life for the sheep”

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:11-15)

“You advocates of Limited Atonement appeal to John 10 where Jesus says ‘I lay down my life for the sheep.’ But that text doesn’t necessarily imply His death only encompassed some individuals in distinction from others. The ‘sheep’ there could possibly be named as representing all without exception. You’re reading things into the text.”


David J. Engelsma

[Source: Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, vol. 51, no. 2 (April 2018), pp. 81-82]

When in the context of His teaching that some humans are His sheep in distinction from others who are not His sheep, and this by divine reprobation (v. 26: “Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep”), Jesus declares that He gives His life for the sheep, biblical logic clearly and incontrovertibly demands that Jesus died for some humans, in distinction from other humans, for whom He did not give His life. Thus, by this passage alone, the controversy over the extent of the atonement is settled: Jesus died for His sheep, according to eternal election; He did not die for humans who are not His sheep, according to divine reprobation.

It would seem evident that even everyday, non-biblical logic [can demonstrate this] … When I say about a certain female that she is my wife, in distinction from myriads of females who are not my wife, and that I live with her, sound logic would seem to require that I live with her, and with her alone, in the marital relationship. Sound, everyday logic would not allow [anyone] to explain that, in fact, I mean that I live with all females. Nor would the logic of the woman who alone is my wife.



More to come! (DV)

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